In 2011, a lot went wrong with my health. Nothing serious, exactly. Just lots of little breakages, a cancer scare, and an inner-ear infection that rendered me unable to balance. I was out of action for about six weeks with that. Not pretty.
It was, I think, largely an emotional clean out: 35 years of suppressed ick, finally allowed to come out and be cleared. I’m just glad I did it before I got really ill.
One Saturday when that ear infection was at its worst, my boyfriend had no choice but to leave me and my burning fever at home, because he had to go to University for his Masters degree. Before he left, he called his parents and asked them to come over and look after me. I was mortified: I was in no state to be seeing people…
But you know what?
I will always remember what they did for me that day: they cooked up a week’s worth of food, and brought it over so we could eat well. They helped me get to the toilet (I needed help walking) and made me drink hot lemon water (I was dehydrating because of the fever and the nausea).
Earlier that same day, I had texted a few of my closest friends and asked if they could bring me fizzy water because it was the only liquid I could keep down, and clearly I was in no state to get any for myself. Kerry, who was sick herself, got her husband to deliver a bottle to me.
In that way, they showed me love at a time when I most needed it.
Another friend didn’t even respond to my text. It changed my view of her.
Food is love.
When I want to show care for someone, I often cook for them.
When I was trying to punish myself for, well, being alive, back when I was an unhappy teenager, I denied myself food. I’ve also medicated with food - filling an emotional hole with physical comfort.
Used that way, food is not love, but a substitute.
These days, as I work with my two words for 2012, stillness & stability, I think about my food choices in relation to how they can keep my health stable.
Lots of protein, because I just do better when I eat that way.
Lots of greens.
Lots of carrots.
Almost no sugar (wow, that has helped with both my mood and my health!)
And in this way, food is love for my body, for my soul, and for my health.